Forums > Hair, Makeup & Styling > Makeup Artist Rates For Los Angeles

Makeup Artist

Diana

Posts: 2372

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Star wrote:

2 models, set lighting. Each outfit takes about 2 minutes, or about 30 outfits per hour

And there ya have it - 'fast and cheap'.  No way in hell a job like that would be 'good'.

Nov 03 08 11:46 pm Link

Makeup Artist

Rachel Lisa

Posts: 2975

Cincinnati, Ohio, US

Diana wrote:
Someone posted a version of this awhile ago:

Good, Fast, Cheap - Pick two, sacrifice the third.

I will always be good and fast, but I can guarantee you I'll never be cheap.

Yes, I saw this explained in a diagram with a triangle. Each side Fast-Cheap-Good. you can't have them all!

Nov 04 08 02:40 am Link

Makeup Artist

liz yu

Posts: 1902

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Star wrote:
2 models, set lighting. Each outfit takes about 2 minutes, or about 30 outfits per hour

that's gotta be one hell of a model to make up for everything else that's missing.

Nov 04 08 03:54 am Link

Makeup Artist

Dianna Quagenti

Posts: 377

Boston, Massachusetts, US

Ok, I read the entire thread - thanks to everyone who contributed, it really helps!!!  Especially about the negotiating, that is always tough for me.

I thought I'd share my rates.  Since I work in a smaller market (Boston), I thought it might be helpful for others who are not in large markets like NY and LA.

My rates for all types of projects:

1/2 day (4 hours max):  $350
Full day (8 hours max):  $575   

After 8 hours, overtime kicks in at $150/hr.  Sometimes on video jobs, the full day rate is based on a 10hr day.  I still try to get more out of them! heh heh

With all my research, this is on the average to higher end in Boston (for non agency repped - freelancers).   To give an idea, I have been doing this for 8 years, full time for about the last 3 years.  I have a pretty solid resume and client list.

I also work a lot with clients (like CNN & Fox 25) who want a "paint and go" service where I paint the talent and go (one face).  These typically pay $175 - $275 per service.  I negotiated this with them and now they are repeat clients of mine.

My personal struggle in my market is even though I have been at it for years, I hear the same things from clients all the time.  Such as "wow, your work is great!  you did a great job!  we loved working with you!"  then there is the BUT..  "but we have a regular artist we have been working with for years.  sometimes he/she isn't available..."  That is when I get a call.  It is really hard here in Boston to compete with artist who have been doing it for 20+ years and who have all the top clients already.  Then the other clients only seem to work with agency talent, not freelancers.  Eh, that's another thread though I suppose...

I also do Bridal, I also love it and enjoy doing it.  The per person rates are basically just bullshit for the Bride's to read. smile I have it set up so they can't book me for less than my minimum day rate.  I make the same $ for the day and often work much less in terms of # of hours.  To me, it is really about the bottom line rather than the per person BS.

This is how I have it broken down for Bridal:

Trial run $50 if they come to me, $75 and up to travel to them

+$25 for airbrush, +$20 for false eye lashes

Day of the wedding:

$100 on location fee (Bride is responsible for paying)
$100 for the Bride
$75/pp

+$25 for airbrush, +$20 for false eye lashes, tattoo coverage/body makeup starts at $50

The Bride is really paying $200 for her makeup, but, breaking it down into two fees makes her feel better about it.  haha 

I plan to increase my rates for 2009, but, haven't exactly decided how I am going to do it...

I hope this is helpful, and I hope others will post so I know I am doing the right thing here! smile

Nov 04 08 09:34 pm Link

Makeup Artist

Keisha Willis Beauty

Posts: 630

Friendly, Maryland, US

Dianna Quagenti wrote:
Trial run $50 if they come to me, $75 and up to travel to them

+$25 for airbrush, +$20 for false eye lashes

Day of the wedding:

$100 on location fee (Bride is responsible for paying)
$100 for the Bride
$75/pp

+$25 for airbrush, +$20 for false eye lashes, tattoo coverage/body makeup starts at $50

The Bride is really paying $200 for her makeup, but, breaking it down into two fees makes her feel better about it.  haha

Wow this is great.. I really love the $50 trial if they come to you $75 if they travel.. consider that jacked..cause I'm using it..lol

Do you find that it works better to break down the one location fee and makeup for bride?  They don't feel like it's a lot of fees?

This was really helpfully especially for me who is also in a smaller market..

Nov 05 08 10:20 am Link

Makeup Artist

Kristen S Makeup

Posts: 1371

Plymouth, Massachusetts, US

Dianna Quagenti wrote:
Ok, I read the entire thread - thanks to everyone who contributed, it really helps!!!  Especially about the negotiating, that is always tough for me.

I thought I'd share my rates.  Since I work in a smaller market (Boston), I thought it might be helpful for others who are not in large markets like NY and LA.

My rates for all types of projects:

1/2 day (4 hours max):  $350
Full day (8 hours max):  $575   

After 8 hours, overtime kicks in at $150/hr.  Sometimes on video jobs, the full day rate is based on a 10hr day.  I still try to get more out of them! heh heh

With all my research, this is on the average to higher end in Boston (for non agency repped - freelancers).   To give an idea, I have been doing this for 8 years, full time for about the last 3 years.  I have a pretty solid resume and client list.

I also work a lot with clients (like CNN & Fox 25) who want a "paint and go" service where I paint the talent and go (one face).  These typically pay $175 - $275 per service.  I negotiated this with them and now they are repeat clients of mine.

My personal struggle in my market is even though I have been at it for years, I hear the same things from clients all the time.  Such as "wow, your work is great!  you did a great job!  we loved working with you!"  then there is the BUT..  "but we have a regular artist we have been working with for years.  sometimes he/she isn't available..."  That is when I get a call.  It is really hard here in Boston to compete with artist who have been doing it for 20+ years and who have all the top clients already.  Then the other clients only seem to work with agency talent, not freelancers.  Eh, that's another thread though I suppose...

I also do Bridal, I also love it and enjoy doing it.  The per person rates are basically just bullshit for the Bride's to read. smile I have it set up so they can't book me for less than my minimum day rate.  I make the same $ for the day and often work much less in terms of # of hours.  To me, it is really about the bottom line rather than the per person BS.

This is how I have it broken down for Bridal:

Trial run $50 if they come to me, $75 and up to travel to them

+$25 for airbrush, +$20 for false eye lashes

Day of the wedding:

$100 on location fee (Bride is responsible for paying)
$100 for the Bride
$75/pp

+$25 for airbrush, +$20 for false eye lashes, tattoo coverage/body makeup starts at $50

The Bride is really paying $200 for her makeup, but, breaking it down into two fees makes her feel better about it.  haha 

I plan to increase my rates for 2009, but, haven't exactly decided how I am going to do it...

I hope this is helpful, and I hope others will post so I know I am doing the right thing here! smile

I'm also in Boston.  My breakdown's a little different, but everything shakes down about the same.  smile

Nov 05 08 12:22 pm Link

Makeup Artist

Dianna Quagenti

Posts: 377

Boston, Massachusetts, US

Keisha Singleton wrote:
Wow this is great.. I really love the $50 trial if they come to you $75 if they travel.. consider that jacked..cause I'm using it..lol

LOL... feel free!  I only include 1 hour of round trip travel from my house.  After that, I tack on $25/hr for travel.

Keisha Singleton wrote:
Do you find that it works better to break down the one location fee and makeup for bride?  They don't feel like it's a lot of fees?

This was really helpfully especially for me who is also in a smaller market..

I do find it works better for me, personally.  When I first raised my prices to "$200 for the Bride"... a lot of Brides were turned off.  When I break it down and tell them its "$100 for your makeup application, $100 for travel" they seem to swallow that better for some reason.  It also has to do with the clientele I have.  I don't necessarily work with or target really wealthy clients (which is fine with me - I love my clientele).  I don't want to do A TON of bridal, so, I don't advertise.  99.9% of my business is word of mouth. I'm not really in it to compete with the "$300/per face" bridal artists that advertise on The Knot. I hope that makes sense! smile

Nov 05 08 02:08 pm Link

Makeup Artist

Angela Horvath

Posts: 391

Burbank, California, US

edit: I removed this comment to start it in a new thread smile

Nov 05 08 09:57 pm Link

Makeup Artist

bo satayakul

Posts: 285

Miami, Florida, US

I only get people offering me peanuts to work ... I don't take most of the jobs...Miami sucks smile

Nov 06 08 01:03 am Link

Makeup Artist

Knipface

Posts: 1

Singapore, Singapore, Singapore

TheMakeupman wrote:
OK    I have been getting quite a few PM's on this , and I can never figure out if it's tacky to post rates as they are negotionable and I was always told it's none of anyones buisness what I make /charge

But as I have said before    I have nothing to hide from anyone

If you are getting more than this .... AWESOME and if you are not .... it's something to think about ...........

These are basicly my rates , these are the rates I book myself , I am not sure how much more the agency that repps me gets but I thinks it's all pretty close

OK heres my rates basicly and remember that all rates are somewhat negotiable ..... to a degree .........

I do not charge for a half day as I do not go from one job to the next in a day, I work  1 job per day  and Honestly , I do not work every day or every week.
I have a "Magic number that I will not pack my kit for less "

Most of this is based on an 8 to 10 hour day

Commercials run anywhere from 750 to 1,200 but I usually average 900

look books run from 500 to 1,400

I dont do music videos unless its a star request (or am working with artist I have always wanted to work with )then it can go way up

from 700 to 3,500 so far

Celebrity red carpet can be anywhere from 500 to .........

Advertising is as well around 900 to 1,400

I hate bridal so I dont do it , but every now and then I asst a friend who does and make no less than 500

Assisting I get 350/400 a day and I pay my assitants the same

Editorial ,
I have done for free or very cheap 150 but you know we all want great  tears

Again again this is for LA ,
in NYC I make about the same
in Hawaii and San Diego the rates were less for me , but I Mostly worked on Episodic TV in those areas but I also got union benefits which add up to alot !
In Oregon when I worked there the rates were a little less

I also want to say this becouse I think this  is Super
Important
I have turned down jobs that paid me X to work and the a year later tryed to offer me less for the same type of job ,
This is what I call  ,    taking a bullet for my craft........
It's been my experience that if someone thinks they can get you for a certain rate , they will try , I have found that sometimes I have to turn away a 600 dollar job becouse I knew before they paid me 900 and had the budget and were just trying to save money " In the wrong ways "   take it out of someone elese's  pocket , not mine     and here is WHY
Becouse once you start working for a lower rate
That is what they will offer you the next time

I had one company that was paying 1400 a day and the a few years later asked me If I would do them a favor and work for 350 ....."just this once they said "
Then they kept calling me ONLY offering me 350 ( I do not work for them anymore on principle) again   taking a bullet for my craft
Moral of the story
Your only worth as much as your last job
the minute you take less , say yes , thats what you are worth.............and most likely what they will offer

I hope this helps smile

Wow... this is one of the best advise I have seen yet. It's hard being an MUA from where I am. The market is small and there are many MUAs undercutting. Which really pisses me off as the rates just gets lower.
Your advise is the same as the advise I heard from a team of photographers which I totally agreed on. Just hope that the market here will have more respects for the craft in this industry.

Nov 09 08 03:59 am Link

Makeup Artist

J C Makeup

Posts: 465

New York, New York, US

This is a great thread.  Thanks for everyone who contributed.

I have a question.  Some artists say, "I charge anywhere from $XXX to $XXXX."
How do you arrive at a certain number in the end?  Do you give out your rate at the higher end, and then negotiate your way down?  Like, do you say, "My rate is $XXXX" and then the client says, "Our budget is XXX, would you be willing to work for that?"

Or, do you feel out the client, research them, get a feel as to what their budget might be,and then quote them?  Like if it's for Chase, your rate might be $XXXXX but if it's a job for an unknown recording artist, it's $XXX?

Nov 26 08 09:23 am Link

Makeup Artist

Keisha Willis Beauty

Posts: 630

Friendly, Maryland, US

jchoi makeup wrote:
This is a great thread.  Thanks for everyone who contributed.

I have a question.  Some artists say, "I charge anywhere from $XXX to $XXXX."
How do you arrive at a certain number in the end?  Do you give out your rate at the higher end, and then negotiate your way down?  Like, do you say, "My rate is $XXXX" and then the client says, "Our budget is XXX, would you be willing to work for that?"

Or, do you feel out the client, research them, get a feel as to what their budget might be,and then quote them?  Like if it's for Chase, your rate might be $XXXXX but if it's a job for an unknown recording artist, it's $XXX?

I asked a similar question.  If you go back a page you may see it. but the quick answer is ask for their budget first, do your research, then go back to them with a rate..

Nov 26 08 09:33 am Link

Makeup Artist

J C Makeup

Posts: 465

New York, New York, US

Thanks Keisha. I dont know I missed that.  smile  It's like when I'm looking for a brush and it's right in front of me but I can't see it because I'm looking for it too hard.

Nov 26 08 09:57 am Link

Makeup Artist

Keisha Willis Beauty

Posts: 630

Friendly, Maryland, US

jchoi makeup wrote:
Thanks Keisha. I dont know I missed that.  smile  It's like when I'm looking for a brush and it's right in front of me but I can't see it because I'm looking for it too hard.

OMGoodness I go through that all the time.. It drives me nuts.  The brush is right in front of my face.. I finally find it and then I drop it..lol

Nov 26 08 10:06 am Link

Makeup Artist

Aeni

Posts: 1969

Phoenix, Arizona, US

Wow this thread's amazing and I wish we were just all open to each other about it.  Thankyou to everyone who has put their rates out there.  Speaking of, here's mine:

Film/Photography:
Essentially $20/hr + kit fee
1/2 day (4 hrs) - $100
8 hr day - $200
If it goes longer, overtime - $30/hr on top of the $200
Longer after 10 hrs - $40/hr on top of the $260

Keep in mind I normally do films out here.  I'd love to go into commercials but a) can't seem to get into them b) I'm too expensive

I had a commercial come up asking me how much it would be w/o even seeing a script or how many people etc (it was for a gym) - so I said $400.  Never heard back!

I know up in Vancouver I could get $900+ for a commercial.  The going rate (according to a grip I talked to on set) is $400-500 in Phoenix.

Nov 26 08 02:21 pm Link

Makeup Artist

Vincent Ford

Posts: 667

West Hollywood, California, US

Dianna Quagenti wrote:
Trial run $50 if they come to me, $75 and up to travel to them

I do this too, $50 for a trial.   I do hair as well as makeup for brides so, I charge $50 for hair and $50 for makeup for the trial.  Also I offer them "discounts" if they book both services and book other people in their wedding party.  Realistically you work the discounts in other fees but I love how a bride will spend $20k on her wedding but when it comes to makeup they want any discount and deal they can get.

Nov 26 08 07:53 pm Link

Makeup Artist

Elyse Lombardi

Posts: 1

Pompano Beach, Florida, US

Rachel Lisa wrote:
This may be a slight detour, but on the same topic of pay...

I had been contacted by another MUA to work a fashion show for no pay. When I looked at her profile, it said NO TFP, EVER! So I emailed her back saying I thought it was interesting that she wanted me to work for free, when she clearly states that she doesn't. She mailed me back, saying "THIS IS NOT TFP IT IS A FASHION SHOW...AND JUST SO YOU KNOW, MAKEUP ARTISTS NEVER GET PAID FOR FASHION SHOWS".  I told her this was the kind of attitude that degrades our work and gives people the impression we don't need to be paid, and she should stop working them for free, and x,y, and z had never had a problem paying me for shows. The ONLY time I worked for free was on a show for charity, where no one got paid, and I thought it was a great cause.

Wow first off you def handled that well. Your responses were right on the mark! As a MUA I always tell my clients that I am willing to work within their makeup budget as long as they budgeted for a MUA. It never ceases to amaze me that when people budget for an indi film or shoot they always budget makeup in last when makeup either makes or breaks your project. Good makeup will show and so will the bad. ANYWAY back to the subject of fashion shows paying makeup artist, Ummm you bet your ass they pay the MUA. My last show pay RATE for a one night show 5pm to 5am was $2,000+ They were very generous by giving me what I asked for and many others can't afford that but if you are doing a show and making zero and deep down you feel you should be getting paid or something in exchange then ask them. If they so no then say "ok then I will work the (show or whatever) for X hours then leave" If you are already at the show working and it looks like there is some money in the budget but they were cheap with you then ask then and there. Trust me if they really value your time/work they WILL be offering you a pay rate on the spot. If not then walk because unless you need the experience your taking a bullet.

May 31 10 09:49 pm Link

Makeup Artist

Kat Cosmetics

Posts: 1

Lancaster, Pennsylvania, US

I am a makeup artist starting out on my own.  what is the average rate I should charge? for bridal and photography work?  I live in  PA.  Thanks

Mar 13 11 10:52 pm Link

Makeup Artist

MakeuptoGo

Posts: 337

Los Angeles, California, US

I'd ask artists in your area if possible since I'd imagine PA is a small market.

I'm in LA and my rates are pretty much what Makeupman Anthony posted

Bump! smile

Mar 14 11 09:38 am Link

Makeup Artist

Susan Zeytuntsyan

Posts: 21

Los Angeles, California, US

Bump smile

I would love to see some more rates from LA artists (for educational purposes), new or experienced

Aug 10 12 11:42 pm Link

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Makeup Artist

TheMakeupMan

Posts: 3759

Los Angeles, California, US

Ha ha.  Haven't seen this thread in a while , just an FYI.  Since this thread started .... My rates have gone up.   Just an FYI.  Even in this economy ........ They will pay

Aug 11 12 09:10 am Link

Makeup Artist

Angie L MUA

Posts: 49

Los Angeles, California, US

Bumping this because it's one of the most useful threads on MM. Every artist needs to read this and learn how to negotiate without undercutting.

& stop working on free/lo-pay/deferred/no pay/yaddayaddayadda "jobs" on Craigslist.

Jan 21 13 01:39 pm Link

Makeup Artist

Linda Chudomelova

Posts: 133

Prague, Prague, Czech Republic

Just read the thread and was just WOWed. Thanks everyone for posting your rates or just agreeing with others, but more importantly I found the part about negotiating very very informative and enlightening, so a sincere thank you, though seeing the rates in LA from Anthony makes me want to cry.

My market is really bad. When I consulted the owner of the school I attended about setting my half-day rate, in the discussion she told me she charged 5000 CZK a day (approx 260 USD), but that she doesn't do hair. I set my day rate at ~ 190 USD, since I do hair, but was told by a (commercially and internationally) working photographer that my rates are set rather high, considering I'm a newbie. I charge ~ 52 USD for model tests and was told that's an adequate amount.

As to why I set my rates and am not assisting, I have to say that the lovely "assist, learn, assist, grow, assist..." culture that you guys have is not nurtured here; here it's along the lines of: "Why on Earth would I want to raise my own competition?"

But just to give you an idea about the kind of jungle it is here... Disposable mascara wands are not the standard (I asked my teachers, all of whom are working pros with years of experience [one of them the most demanded bridal MUA] whether they used them and got some funny answers). Disinfecting makeup is not the standard (again, some funny answers to share).

Today I had a model note how clean my things were and that other MUAs she's worked with came on her with dirty makeup, including brushes.

Sorry for spilling it all and derailing the discussion, but lately I've been so choke-full of how unprofessional the market is here I just had to. :'(

Jan 21 13 03:13 pm Link

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Makeup Artist

Mary

Posts: 7168

Coronado, California, US

Linda Chudomelova wrote:
Just read the thread and was just WOWed. Thanks everyone for posting your rates or just agreeing with others, but more importantly I found the part about negotiating very very informative and enlightening, so a sincere thank you, though seeing the rates in LA from Anthony makes me want to cry.

My market is really bad. When I consulted the owner of the school I attended about setting my half-day rate, in the discussion she told me she charged 5000 CZK a day (approx 260 USD), but that she doesn't do hair. I set my day rate at ~ 190 USD, since I do hair, but was told by a (commercially and internationally) working photographer that my rates are set rather high, considering I'm a newbie. I charge ~ 52 USD for model tests and was told that's an adequate amount.

As to why I set my rates and am not assisting, I have to say that the lovely "assist, learn, assist, grow, assist..." culture that you guys have is not nurtured here; here it's along the lines of: "Why on Earth would I want to raise my own competition?"

But just to give you an idea about the kind of jungle it is here... Disposable mascara wands are not the standard (I asked my teachers, all of whom are working pros with years of experience [one of them the most demanded bridal MUA] whether they used them and got some funny answers). Disinfecting makeup is not the standard (again, some funny answers to share).

Today I had a model note how clean my things were and that other MUAs she's worked with came on her with dirty makeup, including brushes.

Sorry for spilling it all and derailing the discussion, but lately I've been so choke-full of how unprofessional the market is here I just had to. :'(

dirty unprofessional "artists" have taken over the industry...they have lowered standards and prices but they don't fool everyone....    Pro photographers and producers in this industry aren't easily fooled or lured by the cheap artist.    In fact....I raised my rates again a few months ago by $100.00 a day  and I discovered that with no advertising and no networking....they are still calling and booking.... I haven't improved, I'm not worth more now really but compared to the competition I'm looking better and better every day smile  so bring on the newbies!

Jan 21 13 05:52 pm Link

Makeup Artist

Angie L MUA

Posts: 49

Los Angeles, California, US

Mary wrote:
dirty unprofessional "artists" have taken over the industry...they have lowered standards and prices but they don't fool everyone....    Pro photographers and producers in this industry aren't easily fooled or lured by the cheap artist.    In fact....I raised my rates again a few months ago by $100.00 a day  and I discovered that with no advertising and no networking....they are still calling and booking.... I haven't improved, I'm not worth more now really but compared to the competition I'm looking better and better every day smile  so bring on the newbies!

Mary, your advice on how to negotiate has helped me tremendously when it comes to booking my own jobs. I used to reveal all my cards straight off the bat and found it didn't help me at all. Now I find out what their budget is for makeup FIRST, negotiate, then tack on an additional rate for hair. Works like a charm.

Speaking of newbies, I also feel like many artists out there claim themselves as "professional" makeup artists without really earning it except for entitlement. I don't even dare claim myself as "professional" yet; not on my business cards, websites, emails, nada. I think an artist should only have that title once it's well deserved with a resume and work like you, Anthony, Kevin James, Jeffrey Paul, etc.

Jan 21 13 07:04 pm Link

Makeup Artist

Esoteric Makeup

Posts: 39

Seattle, Washington, US

I know this thread stretches pretty far back in time, but all of the information here has been incredibly useful. I recently saw a new production company in my area seeking people to work various positions for "daily crew members" including makeup artists. They are advertising hourly pay, with an opening rate of $10/hr. I won't be contacting them; in particular, thanks to this thread!

Apr 23 13 11:42 pm Link

Makeup Artist

Lauren Reynolds Makeup

Posts: 282

London, England, United Kingdom

Some info on London/UK rates would be great... the few artists who've given me their rates range from £100, which seems awful cheap, to £500+ a day :S

Edit - I should add that I'm not actively seeking paid work at the moment, aside from occasional designer lookbooks and some event/bridal work which I'm just starting to explore... I'm mostly testing and seeking assisting oppurtunities. I would just like to have a firm idea on what I should expect in the future.

Apr 24 13 08:28 am Link